All Blacks legend Richie McCaw made a surprise appearance at the 2019 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony in Tokyo, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

When the lights came on at Ajinomoto Stadiumin Tokyo, the former skipper appeared in the middle of the field, holding the trophy aloft, cheered on by a near-capacity crowd.

The two-time World Cup winner then walked over to a stage, waving to the fans, before placing the trophy - fondly known as 'Bill' - on a stand.

He walked away, pausing for one last glance, before leaving it under a spotlight and walking into the darkness.

Advertisement

The McCaw moment came after the main theatrical show but before official speeches.

The opening ceremony was a journey through the history of rugby in Japan, as children gathered around a model of Mount Fuji and sang, as the participating countries were introduced.


Hundreds of dancers and drummers showed their skills on stage to complete the performance.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont concluded the event by saying: "It's the moment we've all been waiting for - the Rugby World Cup, the first in Asia!

"Over the next six weeks, we will experience the very best of rugby and the very best of Japan."